BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Overseas-bound students can now get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Berakas Health Screening Centre, the health ministry announced in a press statement on Friday.

The ministry will be offering Sinopharm jabs to students who will be pursuing further studies abroad.

Students can make an appointment for the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine injection via the QueUP mobile app.

During a press briefing on Friday, the health minister said students who will travel soon will be inoculated with the Chinese-made vaccine as the interval period between the first and second doses is 21 days.

YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Md Isham Hj Jaafar said students should wait 14 days after their second Sinopharm COVID-19 shot before boarding a flight as it takes time for antibodies to kick in.

Since the vaccination drive kicked off on April 3, Brunei has been using the Chinese-donated Sinopharm and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, while waiting for supplies of Pfizer and Moderna to arrive in the coming months.

Students can take the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine in Brunei but must make sure the country they will be travelling to would be able to administer the second shot, the minister added.

The second AstraZeneca dose is given three months after the first shot.

Previously, the government restricted the use of AstraZeneca jabs to seniors aged 60 and over due to concerns of rare blood clots in younger people, but has introduced an “opt-in programme” that allows all individuals above 18 to take the vaccine until May 29.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available to all Brunei residents free of charge.